“So, what brings you both here today?” Dr Rosemary Nutfixer folds her hands into her lap and examines Curly and I in turn over the rims of her glasses. She looks exactly like a therapist – unsurprisingly, perhaps, as she is a therapist. I know I’m being picky, but I wish she looked a little less like one. She reminds me of my mum, and that’s not surprising either because my mum is also a therapist. When I was growing up almost every adult I knew was a therapist. There were so many of them that I couldn’t imagine how there could be enough mad people to go around. That was before I realised that everyone, without exception, is mad.

“We, er, haven’t been getting on.” Dr Nutfixer nods gravely. All of a sudden I can’t remember why we are here, in this sad grey plywood cubbyhole off Tottenham Court Road. It was my idea, that’s for sure. Curly didn’t want to come, but I cried, and threatened to buy Larry, Moe and I one-way tickets to Rio if he refused.

It’s not that we have been arguing. It’s worse than that. Curly and I have always bickered away merrily, secure in the knowledge that we love each other like mad. But recently we’ve just stopped talking. Days have passed with nary a civilised conversation in our household. Curly just watches TV, and grunts occasionally. I just cry. I’ve been crying almost non-stop for weeks on end.

It could be because neither of us has had more than three consecutive hours’ sleep for two months; baby Moe is proving resistant to even the most fearsome sleep training regime. It could be because our plans to buy a house have fallen through, and we will probably be stuck in our slightly-too-small flat forever more. It could be because we should never have got together, and having kids was a huge mistake. I just don’t know.

Here I go again. I sniff and a tear plops onto my mud-stained Primark puffa jacket. I haven’t even taken off my coat and I’m already blubbing.

“First I have to ask: have you been to see your GP?” says the Doctor, handing me a box of Kleenex.

“My GP? What for?”

“For postnatal depression. There is very effective medication available, you know.”

I am stunned. She is telling me this is a clinical condition? Surely it is just, well, life. And I can’t see how medication is going to help. How are pills going to make our flat bigger, or get Curly a lucrative job in banking, or see off the threat of redundancy, or save the environment from certain destruction?

“I don’t think that will be necessary,” I say, pulling myself together sufficiently to nail Dr Nutfixer with a death stare. “Actually we came here to talk about Curly, and why he doesn’t make any money.”

“I’m sure we will get on to that. But first I really would urge you to see your GP. Postnatal depression is a common condition, and medication really can help.”

I blow my nose ferociously. Whose stupid idea was therapy, anyway?

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AuthorAlice O'Keeffe